How to Copy Protect Web Pages
"Protecting web pages" can mean a lot of different things.
- Is it the text on the web page that needs to be protected?
- Is it the media on the web page that needs to be protected?
- Is it unauthorized access to the page that needs to be protected?
- Is it access from site grabbers that needs to be protected?
- Is it access by search engines and data miners that needs to be protected?
Protecting text on a web page
Protecting the text on a web page means protecting the data and information that the web page displays. Such protection can start at the database and a web page can request data on the fly using SSL or other secure protocols which can protect the data in transmission using encryption.
So we have protection of the text while it's stored on the server and also while it's being transmitted to the user's web browser, but what about protecting the text and information while the page is in view?
Protecting media on a web page
Protecting media and images (anything that can be displayed on a web page) gets a little more difficult because that media, whether it be an image or a movie file, will have a unique link embedding it on the page. The link to the media is the only means of locating that media on a server and that link can be protected in the page prior to download and also protected after the page has been displayed.
Links to media can be protected by encryption but it is only effective up until the page is displayed in the user's browser, after which it is usually most traceable. Using encryption on a web page can be an effective means of protecting its media from site grabbers and direct linking because the links do not get deciphered until the page loads. That is, safe from direct methods however modern site grabbers are being designed to use Internet Explorer resources to preload and decrypt pages to better locate the media on their pages.
Links to media can also be protected after a page has been displayed by using a cloaking and referrer checking script. The first and most universal script for this purpose is Link Protect which can be used on all types of web sites and servers regardless of what programming language is used on the web page.
Protecting the actual media on the page is also possible. Images can be encrypted and displayed using a secure image viewer and other media can also be encrypted and displayed using a custom viewer, that is, if such a viewer is available. Solutions for displaying encrypted media such as Flash, movies, PDF and PowerPoint are continually being developed by many programmers on a per project basis. When it comes to copy protecting that media those developers will then use CopySafe Web Protection because it can be added to any web page ro copy protect any media on the page.
Protecting web media from search engines and site grabbers
Site grabbers, movie downloaders and search engines all work the same. They all look for links on a start page and then explore those links looking for more links and so on. Grabbers and downloaders can be programmed to look for certain types of files, all of which are easily locatable by the links that embed them on the page.
From a single home page hundreds and thousands of web pages can be spidered. All the spider needs is a link to a page from any one of those other pages to realize that it exists and to grab whatever information it wants.
Making a web page accessible to and friendly for search engines is quite simple, just add a hyperlink to the next page and it will be included. For most of a web site's content we need to make it friendly. That way we get favorable search results, the site gets traffic and everyone is happy.
But what if you have content that is not intended to be provided to the public to use as they wish? What if you have data and information that needs to be limited to company staff, club members or otherwise select group? Now you may have a much more difficult task.
Search engines and data miners
Although most companies providing search engine services claim to abide by privacy policies and that they abide by NOINDEX settings in robots.txt files, please be informed that this is not the case at all and that you cannot rely on ethics at all when it comes to the Internet.
Upon finding a no-follow exclusion on a web site using their known equipment, they can and more than likely will return using a different identity and IP number, and while they may not include that information in their public results, you can be sure that it has been found and explored for whatever value it may have.
ArtistScope being security conscious and tired of having its services hacked by competitors and other idiots has been tracking activity at those services for two decades using a variety of known and in-house designed tracking systems. Traffic is identified by origin, referrer, computer identity, IP address, software used and more. Consequently we can identify nearly every search engine and data miner in the world today, and we can watch the traffic live and where it goes.
Without going to too much detail and identifying some of the monkey brains that claim to do no evil, please be warned that you do not have to submit a web site to a search engine for it to be spidered, and a web page doesn't not even have to be linked to another page or the Internet for it it be spidered. All you have to do is visit that web page using your favorite web browser... just be typing the URL directly into the address bar. If developing web pages pre release of a product launch and you don't want the information leaked, unless you take dire measures to ensure that outside traffic cannot reach those pages then you need to keep the web site offline and in an in-house network (intranet) until you are ready to go live.
Copy protecting a web page
By adding a small image encrypted by CopySafe Web software, you can protect all content on that page from PrintScreen and screen capture. ArtistScope provides free add-ons for adding CopySafe Web protection to pages created by Drupal, Joomla, Moodle and WordPress.
The ArtistScope Site Protection Software (ASPS) does not need to encrypt web pages or media to protect them most securely, because ASPS copy protects everything displayed on a web page when viewed using the ArtisBrowser. ASPS can protect the whole web site or only parts thereof. However to use ASPS, one needs to use a dedicated or virtual server for the permissions to install ASPS software at system level. ArtistScope provides free add-ons for adding ASPS copy protection to pages created by DNN, Drupal, Joomla, Moodle and WordPress. Otherwise, for hosted web sites, CopySafe Web can be used.